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Made with tender noodles, creamy pumpkin, and white Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is an irresistible dish that will check all the boxes.

Comfort food with a twist! This easy mac and cheese recipe that’s both healthy and delicious!

Try my Spaghetti Mac and Cheese next!

Pot with macaroni in an orange sauce with fresh sage leaves.
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Recipe Highlights

  • 30 Minutes Meal – The cheese sauce only takes about 15 minutes and the rest is so easy. Get this autumn meal on the table fast!
  • The Perfect Autumn Meal – Full of the flavors of fall, like pumpkin, warm herbs, and spices.
  • Healthier Than Traditional – Your typical mac and cheese dish has about 700 calories per serving, maybe more. This pumpkin version has about 440 per serving.
  • Optional Crispy Topping – Buttery Panko breadcrumbs add a savory crunch and texture to the finished dish.


  • Macaroni – I like to use the large elbows for this recipe.
  • Butter and All-Purpose Flour – For the roux that thickens the cheese sauce.
  • Milk – I use whole milk for mac and cheese, but you can use any milk that you have in your fridge. The higher the fat content, the richer your sauce will be.
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper, paprika, sage, thyme, and nutmeg.
  • Pumpkin – Make sure to use real pumpkin puree, not pie filling.
  • Cheese – I like to use white cheddar and a little Parmesan. Feel free to mix it up and add a little Gouda or Gruyere.
  • Garnish – Fresh thyme or sage leaves.

How To Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to the package instructions.
  • Whisk the milk and pureed pumpkin together.
  • Make the roux for the cheese sauce with butter and flour. Add the dried herbs.
  • Whisk in the milk/pumpkin mixture. Let the sauce simmer and thicken, then stir in the remaining seasonings.
  • Remove from the heat and melt the cheese into the sauce.
  • Stir in macaroni, garnish, and serve.
Orange mixture made by mixing butter and flour in a saucepan.
Creamy orange sauce in a sauce pan.
Macaroni with a pumpkin cheese sauce in a sauce pan.


How can I make the sauce creamier?

For an even creamier sauce, use heavy cream instead of milk, or add a few ounces of cream cheese when you add the pumpkin. You could also just one cup of pumpkin instead of the whole can.

Can I use fresh herbs?

Absolutely! Just stir them in at the end.

Can this mac and cheese be baked?

Yes! Grease a 2-quart baking dish and pour in the mac and cheese. Top with toasted Panko and some extra shredded cheese and bake at 350℉ for about 20 minutes. This could also be prepared in advance.

What cheeses pair well with pumpkin?

Some of my favorite cheeses to pair with pumpkin dishes like this mac and cheese include sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, Gruyere and Fontina.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave, adding a few splashes of milk to rehydrate.

Expert Tips

  • Texture – For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to process the milk and pumpkin together. You could also opt for whole milk or cream, or add a few ounces of cream cheese.
  • Crispy Topping – Use panko breadcrumbs for a little crunch. Toast breadcrumbs in the oven or in a skillet until golden, then sprinkle over individual servings.
  • Melting the Cheese – Stir constantly and add the cheese in small handfuls when making your cheese sauce to avoid lumps.
Wooden spoon with pumpkin mac and cheese over a saucepan.

Try These Pumpkin Recipes Next

Pumpkin mac and cheese social media image.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

5 from 2 votes
Learn how to make creamy, delicious Pumpkin Mac and Cheese that'll wow the whole family! It's healthy and delicious, and perfect for fall.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 16 ounce large elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree not pie filling
  • 2 cups freshly grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh thyme or sage leaves optional, for garnish
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  • Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Drain pasta about 1 minute before instructed; just slightly before pasta is al dente. Set aside.
  • Whisk milk and pumpkin together in a medium bowl or glass measuring cup with a pour spout. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden in color; about 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk in thyme, sage and paprika and cook for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Do not boil. Simmer until thickened; about 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
  • Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and pumpkin purée until smooth. Use an immersion blender if desired to create a completely smooth sauce.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
  • Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to completley coat the pasta.
  • Garnish with fresh cracked black peper and fresh thyme or sage leaves, if desired.


Try this straight from the stove when you’re in a rush! You can also bake it with toasted Panko breadcrumbs for the perfect crunchy topping.
Keyword pumpkin macaroni and cheese


Calories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 19gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 491mgPotassium: 369mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 8860IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 359mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. Aileen Brower says:

    Hi! Is it possible to make this dish the night before and pop in the oven day of?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You can, but the cheese sauce is best served immediately. Its likely to be a little dry the next day.

  2. Amber Matthews says:

    I have a question on your pumpkin Mac and cheese. You mentioned olive oil in the list of ingredients but I didn’t see it used in the instructions. Do you use both butter and olive oil?

    1. Kristin says:

      The olive oil is melted with the butter. It helps to keep the butter from burning. Thanks for catching that!

  3. Bonnie Washburn says:

    Yum! I’ve had this recipe for a whole year. I just made it and it is delicious, exceeding my expectations by a mile!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Bonnie.
      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Sarah says:

    What size is the package of macaroni that you use?

    1. Kristin says:

      Thanks for catching that! I used a 16 ounce package from Costco.

  5. Ellen Scott says:

    Look so delicious! I love pumpkin!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thanks Ellen! It really was yummy!

  6. Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen says:

    Wow, this is so creative! Pumpkin mac and cheese sounds like one of those combos that you never would have thought up on your own but once you realize how good it is you can’t live without it!

    1. Kristin says:

      We LOVE it!!